The Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea will be a valuable resource for geoscientists, oceanographers, and meteorologists.
The Mediterranean Sea
Introduction to The Mediterranean Sea : Temporal Variability and Spatial Patterns
Gian Luca Eusebi Borzelli1, Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli2, Miroslav Gacˇić3, and Piero Lionello4
1 CERSE (Center for Remote Sensing of the Earth), Rome, Italy; OGS (Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimenta), Sgonico (TS),Italy
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge,MA - USA
3 Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale - OGS, Trieste,Italy
4 University of Salento, Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche ed Ambientali, Lecce,Italy
This book stems from a workshop held in Rome in November 2011 at Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the POEM (Physical Oceanography of the Eastern Mediterranean) program. The objectives of the workshop, however, were more ambitious than a memorial. First, the workshop was meant to provide a synopsis of the state of the art of the present knowledge of the Mediterranean Sea circulation. Second, it aimed at offering the opportunity to scientists working in different areas of the sea, both in the western and eastern basins, to meet and share ideas, fostering pan-Mediterranean collaborations.
The members of the POEM program gratefully acknowledge the crucial support provided over the years by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO Ocean Sciences) and the Mediterranean Science Commission (CIESM).
This book collects eight original research articles describing new results in the study of the Mediterranean Sea physical properties. Until the beginning of the 1980s, the Mediterranean was considered of marginal importance being characterized by specific, regional phenomena with limited interest for global processes. The second half of the 1980s represents a crossroad in the study of this basin. Four large international programs - the Gibraltar Experiment [ Kinder and Bryden , 1987], the Physical Oceanography of the Eastern Mediterranean [ Malanotte-Rizzoli and Robinson , 1988], which in 1990 evolved in to the fully interdisciplinary program named POEM-Biology and Chemistry (POEM-BC), the Western Mediterranean Circulation Experiment [ WMCE Consortium , 1989], and PRIMO [ EUROMODEL Group , 1995] - defined the major characteristics of the Mediterranean Sea. The picture of its variability emerging from these studies was complex and it showed that multiple interacting time and spatial scales (basin, subbasin, and mesoscale), representing a wide variety of physical processes, characterize the Mediterranean dynamics.
This new observational and theoretical knowledge established that the Mediterranean is a laboratory basin, where the processes characterizing the global ocean and its climate can be investigated. In fact, all major forcing mechanisms (such as surface wind forcing, buoyancy fluxes, lateral mass exchange, and deep convection) determining the global oceanic circulation are present in the Mediterranean Sea. Deep and intermediate water masses are formed in different areas and drive the Mediterranean thermohaline cells, which show important analogies with the global ocean conveyor belt. However, the Mediterranean Sea presents important advantages as temporal and spatial scales are shorter than in the global ocean, simplifying the logistics necessary for monitoring the circulation.
The aforementioned programs ended by the second half of the 1990s revealing a number of important features and opened a series of scientific questions. These can be summarized as follows:
The Eastern Mediterranean Transient (EMT)
The main source of dense water driving the eastern Mediterranean deep convection cell, normally localized in the Adriatic Sea, by the end of the 1980s, shifted to the Aegean and determined changes